The significance is easy to understand, as it is a day such as that in Dallas where everyone remembers what they were doing that day. Why "everything changed" is more difficult for me to understand -- not for those whose lives were affected directly by the loss of loved ones, friends and acquaintances, but for people like Joe Blow and me.
My opinion is that it is what happened afterwards, in particular political reactions according to hidden agendas for changes is not only why things changed, but why they changed in the ways they have.
As the media drumbeat has been building up to frenzy, an outsider might think the entire nation was going to go around in sackcloth and ashes, wailing, beating its collective breast and tearing tots of hair out in parody of the semi-religious catharsis of a Greek Tragedy.
I think it's disgusting and I'm reluctant to commit my two bits to the cacophony.
What happened on that Terrible Tuesday? More important, what has happened since?
As to the first question, five years, that is eighteen hundred and twenty six days, if you do the counting in your head and allow for a leap year, have passed since four passenger planes were hijacked and we, the people, besides the bare facts, still don't know really what happened.
The bare facts are that two planes were flown into the World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon and the forth crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. In all, not quite three thousand perished.
As to the second question, what has happened since is that a politically ruthless regime has used Terrible Tuesday to channel the emotional energy of the tragedy to embark upon a course of world domination under changing banners. The War on Terror morphed into Global War on Terror then into phrases about bringing Freedom, Democracy and Liberty to the rest of the world in a sort of Latter Day Crusade.
The clarity which investigations could and should have given us has been muddled by obfuscation and stonewalling. As a result, parallel and conflicting myths have grown which, in the end could tear this country apart.
Meanwhile, hundreds of billions of dollars disappeared into thin air generating hundreds of thousands of human lives dead or maimed, destruction, chaos and, of all things, more terror!
At the same time, as select companies have reaped enormous profits from contracts received without bidding, the reputation of our great country has been tarnished in the eyes of the rest of the world by the consequences of unmitigated arrogance.
The April 19 attack in Oklahoma in 1995 was the work of an American and a Gulf War veteran to boot, why did that not change everything? I remember in the first hours after the blast it was thought that it might (must?) be the work of Arabs. Is that it? Is it because we have been unconsciously waiting for an attack from Arab or Islamic fanatics?
Perhaps that is it. The reason an Arab Islamic fanatic as opposed to an American Christian fanatic perpetrator was almost assumed in the Murrah bombing was likely because of the February 26 bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993.
But at the end of the day, I think it was the incredible, often live, extremely vivid and visual coverage of the attack on and the collapse of the towers that was responsible for the tremendous impact. Many Americans were in shock, panic even in a borderline psychotic state in those first days. We were like the people we have seen so many times in our catastrophe films.
We, the people, became the sheeple, waiting to be lead.
The problem as I see it, is that the myths need to be adjusted to the realities of what happened then and since. If not, the path we are on is one which leads to total war.